Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lynne Arriale - Solo

Motéma Records ~ MTM-83

Lynne Arriale's adventurous "Solo" has the win/win quality of being both easy to listen to and musically fulfilling. You'll find yourself weaving in and out of relaxed enjoyment, getting kicks and rapt concentration. It's the perfect album for sittin' and ruminatin' in the lazyboy with a piping mug of whatever; or poolside: just you, a frosty glass and the puffy clouds.

The album is reminiscent of Thelonious Monk's finer solo releases (
like "Alone in San Fransisco") not simply because Lynne covers two of his works aptly (and imaginatively), but because she's learned a thing or two from both his ability to stimulate the listener rhythmically and harmonically, and his knack for setting a stark emotion with the piano that draws one right in.

Arriale is a fine composer - the opener "La Noche" is a chromatic, brooding mood setter; while "The Dove" is all-out impressionism: here a shade Eastern, there a touch Debussy - just lovely and warranting repeat listens.

Her first Monk cover "Evidence" begins in an inquisitive,  searching manner, gradually building into some of the album's most swinging invention. She manages to bring forth all the tune's mystery, with none of the obligatory aping. 

"Wouldn’t It Be Loverly" floats directly from the "enormous chair": dreamy, romantic, wise and reflective; followed by the pianist's rhapsodic "Will O' The Wisp". Lynne states her independence from the rhythm section with "Yada Yada Yada", a jaunty, angular blues with verve and motion.

Romance skirts on the edge of New Age aesthetics with the lilting "Dance" – one of the real high points of the disc; unforgettable once heard. "Arise" has all the makings of a quality theme for a romance movie, gorgeous and touching if you stick with it.

The best display of Arriale's depth and capacity as a jazz pianist comes on an enigmatic spin of Cole Porter's "What is This Thing Called Love"; anything but an old warhorse here: full of surprises, harmonic inventiveness and delightful tension; all with fluidity and poise.

A minor original "Sea and Sand" is a fine addition to the long line and grand history of slow, haunting, danceable Latin piano ballads. "Bye Ya" begins as a playful exposition on both the composition and the more finer points of Monk's improvisation; but soon develops into a marvel of jazz architecture, revealing distillations from several jazz masters and coming out sounding very much Arriale.

"And So It Goes" is the closer as it is on Billy Joel’s "Storm Front" – a pretty investigation of the familiar melody.

All that and no filler make this a necessary addition to the library of jazz piano lovers, particularly those who might have feared the art of making a real good solo piano album was lost a few decades ago. - PCJ

Sample and pick up your copy of "Solo" at these locations:
Motéma Records Website,
Lynne Arriale's Website
or wherever jazz music is sold!

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